Canada moves to expedite pardons for minor marijuana convictions

PHOTO: Whitney Stewart looks over samples of cannabis at the opening of Fire and Flower in Edmonton, Alberta, on Oct. 17, 2018.PlayJason Franson/Canadian Press via AP
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The Trudeau administration has announced a plan to expedite pardons for Canadians convicted of minor marijuana offenses.

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"We will be introducing legislation to introduce an expedited pardon process, with no fee, for those with previous convictions for simple possession of cannabis," Scott Bardsley, a spokesperson for Canada's Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, told ABC News on Wednesday.

PHOTO: Curtis Hrdlicka is the first customer to purchase legal cannabis at Fire and Flower in Edmonton, Alberta, Oct. 17, 2018. Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP
Curtis Hrdlicka is the first customer to purchase legal cannabis at Fire and Flower in Edmonton, Alberta, Oct. 17, 2018.

The announcement comes the same day as the enactment of the Cannabis Act, which legalizes recreational marijuana in Canada, the first G7 nation to do so. Medicinal marijuana was legalized in Canada in 2001.

PHOTO: People wait in line to purchase legal cannabis products outside a government cannabis store in Montreal, Oct. 17, 2018. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP
People wait in line to purchase legal cannabis products outside a government cannabis store in Montreal, Oct. 17, 2018.

"The reason we're doing this is because it's now something that's legal, and the consequences of the criminal record are disproportionate to the gravity of the offense," said Bardsley, adding that pardons would apply specifically to possession for personal use and "not for trafficking. We're not talking about dealers or producers or anyone of that sort."

The proposal is subject to approval by Parliament.

Currently, anyone convicted of a minor marijuana offense can apply for a pardon after remaining crime free for five years and paying a fee of $631 Canadian.

PHOTO: Krissy Calkins smokes a marijuana joint at a Wake and Bake legalized marijuana event in Toronto, Oct. 17, 2018. Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press via AP
Krissy Calkins smokes a marijuana joint at a "Wake and Bake" legalized marijuana event in Toronto, Oct. 17, 2018.